To: Members of the UW-L Faculty Senate

From: Provost Enz Finken

Date: September 24, 2010

Re: Request for consideration of proposal to partner with Kaplan Global Pathways

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse has been approached by Larry Green, Senior Vice President, Kaplan International, to consider becoming a partner with Kaplan to offer a Global Pathways Program.  I am writing to provide introductory information about the Global Pathways Program, and to invite discussion with the goal of determining whether there is support to further investigate the possibility to develop a formal relationship.

The Global Pathways program—currently offered at several UK and two U.S. universities—is a customized approach to recruiting students of international origin, helping them to acclimate to the U.S. university environment, and providing English language and academic skills instruction to prepare them to successfully matriculate at the university. The program allows universities to benefit from Kaplan’s extensive international recruiting network, while maintaining control of the admissions process and curriculum design and delivery.

Kaplan International has headquarters in New York, London, and La Crosse. The co-location of Kaplan International with the University in La Crosse, coupled with the strength of our International Education Office and English as a Second Language Institute, led to Kaplan’s interest in exploring a partnership arrangement. The initial meeting with Larry Green was very positive, and we agreed to take the proposal forward to the Faculty Senate. Attached is a PowerPoint presentation which contains further information about the program for your review.

Although each Pathways program is highly customized to meet the requirements of the host campus, the general structure is as follows:

·     The university establishes admission requirements to the Pathways program, and Kaplan recruits student who meet those requirements up to a pre-established number of students.

·     The Pathways Program—designed by UW-L faculty and staff in concert with Kaplan—is offered on our campus and includes social and cultural components, academic skills components, ESL, and may include linguistics and/or Communication courses, and/or some academic courses. ESL instruction can be offered through our ESL Institute, and UW-L can design both the ESL curriculum and any non-ESL academic curriculum to meet our needs and standards. The Pathways program is typically 9 months to one year in length.  (The accompanying PowerPoint document includes two example of very different programs—one at Northeastern University; one at the University of Utah). One or more Kaplan staff work with students in concert with our staff to ensure the success of the program and carry out the non-academic components.

·     Kaplan and the University develop a financial agreement to split the revenues generated through the Pathways program, and Kaplan also negotiates a small percentage of the revenue generated from the tuition for each student who ultimately matriculates into the university upon successful completion of the Pathways Program. That percentage is only applied to the first year of the student’s career as a matriculated student. Full tuition from all subsequent years is retained by the university. At present, approximately 80% of all students who enter Pathways Programs ultimately matriculate into the university. “Successful completion of the Pathways Program” is defined as the student meeting the proscribed requirements for full admission to the university for students entering through the Kaplan program as defined by the university.

The most immediate benefit of partnering with Kaplan is the opportunity to expand our recruitment efforts and enroll a greater number of international students with a limited up-front investment in the recruitment process. Currently, the Office of International Education has one recruiter on staff, and also contracts with agents abroad to assist us in meeting our international enrollment targets. We also receive some students through government contracts (students chosen and sponsored by their government). In addition, Director Jay Lokken attends some recruiting fairs and also makes visits to our partner institutions abroad. Our capacity to enroll international students is in large part limited by the number of recruiters we can afford to employ, their limited presence in-country, and the high cost of international recruitment activities. Kaplan’s extensive recruiting network could efficiently and effectively supplement the work we already do. Additionally, UW-L would ultimately benefit from an increased number of students paying out-state tuition who matriculate to the university upon completion of the Pathways Program.

If we determine that we would like to explore the possibility of partnering with Kaplan to develop a Pathways Program, we would need to revisit the question of our capacity to enroll and serve international students. What proportion or number of students makes sense for our campus? What are our goals for enrolling international students? The current goal, set a number of years ago, is 667 and we have just over 400 students here at this time. In addition, Kaplan would have to determine whether our campus is a good fit and worth the investment on their part: Do we have the types of programs which attract the international students who are most interested in enrolling in a Pathways Program as an entry into the U.S. higher education system? Do we have the capacity and the interest to increase our international student population to a number that meets Kaplan’s business model (whatever that number might be)? How would we structure our program? What would the financial model look like? These are all questions that would require further exploration. The initial meeting, as noted above, was very positive, and there are good reasons to think a partnership with Kaplan would be a positive thing for our campus. I am interested in your questions and your thoughts about this proposal.

cc. Chancellor Gow, Vice Chancellor Bob Hetzel , Jay Lokken, Michelle Tyvoll